Question about reports & gray literature and bibliography exports

After I did some quick searching, I didn't find an existing discussion about my issue; apologies if I missed it.

My university uses APA 7th edition and for reports and gray literature that are a PDF that's linked to a web page, it says to use this general format:

Author. (Date). Title. Publisher Info. URL

When I'm using the connector, I let it default to Web Page, switch the Item Type to Report and that's where my question comes in.

There are lots of additional fields that "can" be entered when you select Report as your item type, such as Pages, Institution, Place, etc. The advice I was given by a librarian was to just not include those details in the References list for this kind of reference. Is this the actual workaround, or is there another tech-based option that I'm missing out on?

Corollary questions:

1. What's the reason for not including a Gray Literature Item Type? I'm assuming that each style guide handles Gray Literature differently.
2. When I select APA 7th as my Citation Style and add a bibliography, why does it include the other information that's not specified in the style guide?


The report is on this site:

Here's Zotero's output for the bibliography item in APA 7th:

Johnson, R. (2021). Pursuing Deliberative Democracy at the University of Victoria: Report on the Students’ Dialogue on Democratic Engagement (pp. 1–35). University of Victoria.
  • You'd want to add institution and place for reports -- those are commonly needed. I'd remove the page numbers (that field is a bit weird in Zotero & should likely get fixed), but with that the above looks good. In particular, "University of Victoria" is publisher information, so you definitely want that in.

    "Gray literature" isn't actually an item type. It's a catch-all for anything that isn't formally published but "kind of" published, i.e. would include reports, webpages, potentially blogposts, documents, by some accounts theses -- and I'm probably forgetting some.
  • I do understand that adding the institution and place are commonly needed for reports but that's not what APA 7th ed. says (2020, p. 329).

    Also, I *did* record the Institution and Place in my Zotero but it didn't export in my example. I used Create Bibliography > Output as Copy to Clipboard. I'd upload a screenshot of my Parent Item as confirmation, but this discussion board doesn't seem to allow that.
  • I had assumed you used "University of Victoria" as institution? Where else would you have that. And it's correct that APA doesn't print place (not for books either), so that's exactly right. You still want it in Zotero, though, should you change citation styles
  • edited February 17, 2022
    Yep, entered UVic as the Institution. There is not an option under the Report parent item to list it as a Publisher. I am using the latest version of Zotero.
  • Right, and an institution is the publisher of a report -- that's why it's *gray* literature -- it doesn't have a formal publisher. So basically everything is working great except for the page number, which you should just take out. I'm a bit unclear what your question or concern is then.
  • Sorry, I didn't know that Zotero treated the Institution field as being the same as the Publisher field for formatting purposes. I was also confused as to why the Pages field was in the Report Item Type. That's all. Issue resolved.

    P.S. Is the Pages field buggy on all Parent Items? In my bibliography, Pages for Journal Articles gets exported without putting a "pp." in front but not for Book Sections. I had to hand-correct all of them just now.
  • No, pages are generally correct, the field just shouldn't exist for reports (or should be treated as number of pages).

    P.S. Is the Pages field buggy on all Parent Items? In my bibliography, Pages for Journal Articles gets exported without putting a "pp." in front but not for Book Sections. I had to hand-correct all of them just now.
    That's correct APA.
    Journal articles:
    Baniya, S., & Weech, S. (2019). Data and experience design: Negotiating community-oriented digital research with service-learning. Purdue Journal of Service-Learning and International Engagement, 6(1), 11–16.

    Book chapters:
    Armstrong, D. (2019). Malory and character. In M. G. Leitch & C. J. Rushton (Eds.), A new companion to Malory (pp. 144-163). D. S. Brewer.

    (italics left out because I'm lazy, but Zotero does them right)
  • edited February 17, 2022
    Dammit! I've been doing page numbers for Journal Articles wrong for over a year now. Anyway, thanks for all your assistance.
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